The current state budget proposal threatens public education by cutting resources and taking away local control through voucher programs, including private school vouchers, special education vouchers and charter school provisions. All together, these proposals could drain $37 million from Madison schools over the next five years.

Madison is a thriving urban district, working to raise student achievement and ensure that every student is prepared for college and career.

  • ACT Scores: Madison students outperform the national average on the ACT by 12%.
  • National Merit Finalists: The Madison School District has 20 times the national average of National Merit finalists.
  • AP Honor Roll: Madison was one of only 400 districts nationwide to be named on the AP Honor Roll for increasing participation by 19% while maintaining nearly 80% of scores at a three or higher.
  • State Report Cards: On the state’s own report card system, the vast majority of Madison schools meet or exceed expectations.
  • Wide range of programming: Madison students enjoy high quality programming from Honors and AP Courses, to fine arts, to athletics, to social justice programs.
  • Community Partnerships: Madison schools reap the benefits of an engaged community and thriving partnerships like Schools of Hope with the United Way, Urban League and Centro Hispano, Adopt-A-School through the Foundation for Madison Public Schools and many, many more.

Madison schools and community have an ambitious focus on closing gaps in student achievement through:

  • Consistent, aligned literacy materials that give teachers stronger tools in the classroom.
  • A successful four-year-old kindergarten program. New data shows that students who attend 4K come to kindergarten more prepared.
  • A thriving and unique AVID/TOPS partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. AVID/TOPS students are achieving higher GPAs, enrolling in more advanced placement courses, and scoring higher on tests. Because of this success, the district expanded AVID to all middle schools this year.

Efficiencies and Tough Choices

In a challenging economic climate, the Madison School District has made fiscally responsible decisions to keep the district on sound financial footing and to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. That has meant finding efficiencies in day to day work and in many cases, making tough choices.

Over the past decade, this district has been forced to cut more than $100 million from its budget. The district has worked to reduce the impact of cuts on schools by finding efficiencies that include the reduction of more than $5 million in maintenance on aging buildings, efficiencies and cuts in central office administrative work resulting in reduction of more than $20 million and a salary freeze for all employees, resulting in savings of $5.5 million. But ongoing cuts over the past decade have also impacted schools, with more than $16 million in cuts causing incremental increases in class sizes and more than $2 million in cuts to athletics, alternative programs and summer schools.

Despite these cuts, the district has maintained an Aaa bond rating, the top rating of a district’s financial health. In the 2012-13 school year, the budget raised taxes only 1.75% -- more than 3% less than original projections. The previous year, taxes decreased.

Current projections based on the state aid formula show the proposed budget would mean a 15% decrease or $8.7 million less in state aid than last year for Madison schools. The budget also includes additional cuts and threats to public education through:

Between private school vouchers, charter school provisions and special education vouchers, Madison schools could lose more than $37 million over the next five years.